RE: [asa] No Adam?

From: Dick Fischer <>
Date: Fri May 01 2009 - 19:04:10 EDT

Hi George, you wrote:


>Has it ever occur(r)ed to you that Jubilees & Genesis (Josephus) might be dependent upon Genesis?<


R.H. Charles, the first translator, thought Jubilees was a Hebrew version of the Pentateuch and that some parts were incorporated into the Septuagint. And, of course, the Septuagint was the text quoted by the NT authors.


I agree with you that these texts have enough similarity that they didn’t arise independently. When clay tablets were phased out in favor of papyrus what was gained in transportability was lost in destructibility. Much was written and lost. All we have today are a few survivors thanks to dedicated Hebrew scribes. We can only make educated guesses and knowing this group everybody will have a different point of view. However, I’ll produce here a little segment of both and make a comment or two.


This is a small part of Jubilees:


“In the twenty-ninth jubilee, in the first week, in the beginning thereof Arpachshad took to himself a wife and her name was Râsû’ĕjâ, [the daughter of Sûsân,] the daughter of Elam, and she bare him a son in the third year in this week, and he called his name Kâinâm. And the son grew, and his father taught him writing, and he went to seek for himself a place where he might seize for himself a city. And he found a writing which former (generations) had carved on the rock, and he read what was thereon, and he transcribed it and sinned owing to it; for it contained the teaching of the Watchers in accordance with which they used to observe the omens of the sun and moon and stars in all the signs of heaven. And he wrote it down and said nothing regarding it; for he was afraid to speak to Noah about it lest he should be angry with him on account of it. And in the thirtieth jubilee, in the second week, in the first year thereof, he took to himself a wife, and her name was Mêlkâ, the daughter of Madai, the son of Japheth, and in the fourth year he begat a son, and called his name Shelah; for he said: "Truly I have been sent." [And in the fourth year he was born], and Shelah grew up and took to himself a wife, and her name was Mû’ak, the daughter of Kêsêd, his father's brother, in the one and thirtieth jubilee, in the fifth week, in the first year thereof. And she bare him a son in the fifth year thereof, and he called his name Eber: and he took unto himself a wife, and her name was ’Azûrâd the daughter of Nêbrôd, in the thirty-second jubilee, in the seventh week, in the third year thereof. And in the sixth year thereof, she bare him a son, and he called his name Peleg; for in the days when he was born the children of Noah began to divide the earth amongst themselves: for this reason he called his name Peleg. And they divided (it) secretly amongst themselves, and told it to Noah. And it came to pass in the beginning of the thirty-third jubilee that they divided the earth into three parts, for Shem and Ham and Japheth, according to the inheritance of each …”


Notice that the writer not only included Cainan (Kâinâm) found in the Septuagint and Luke 3:36 he had some additional information about him he thought was pertinent. The names of wives are included. Did he think up names and throw them in wherever required, or did the writer of Genesis omit them as extraneous information? Perhaps both Jubilees and Genesis were separately derived from common source materials. The Genesis narrative leaves us hanging as to what “the earth was divided” in the days of Peleg means. Note that Genesis commentaries waffle on this also. Here the writer gives us the answer. The lands were apportioned among the three main tribes. Why did Abraham journey to the land of Canaan? Because it was land dedicated to Shem. Abraham just took what was his by the original apportionment agreement.


This is a small bit of Josephus concerning Cain murdering his brother, Abel:

“But God, knowing what had been done, came to Cain, and asked him what was become of his brother, because he had not seen him of many days; whereas he used to observe them conversing together at other times. But Cain was in doubt with himself, and knew not what answer to give to God. At first he said that he was himself at a loss about his brother's disappearing; but when he was provoked by God, who pressed him vehemently, as resolving to know what the matter was, he replied, he was not his brother's guardian or keeper, nor was he an observer of what he did. But, in return, God convicted Cain, as having been the murderer of his brother; and said, "I wonder at thee, that thou knowest not what is become of a man whom thou thyself hast destroyed." God therefore did not inflict the punishment [of death] upon him, on account of his offering sacrifice, and thereby making supplication to him not to be extreme in his wrath to him; but he made him accursed, and threatened his posterity in the seventh generation. He also cast him, together with his wife, out of that land. And when he was afraid that in wandering about he should fall among Wild beasts, and by that means perish, God bid him not to entertain such a melancholy suspicion, and to go over all the earth without fear of what mischief he might suffer from wild beasts; and setting a mark upon him, that he might be known, he commanded him to depart.

And when Cain had traveled over many countries, he, with his wife, built a city, named Nod, which is a place so called, and there he settled his abode; where also he had children. However, he did not accept of his punishment in order to amendment, but to increase his wickedness; for he only aimed to procure every thing that was for his own bodily pleasure, though it obliged him to be injurious to his neighbors. He augmented his household substance with much wealth, by rapine and violence; he excited his acquaintance to procure pleasures and spoils by robbery, and became a great leader of men into wicked courses. He also introduced a change in that way of simplicity wherein men lived before; and was the author of measures and weights. And whereas they lived innocently and generously while they knew nothing of such arts, he changed the world into cunning craftiness. He first of all set boundaries about lands: he built a city, and fortified it with walls, and he compelled his family to come together to it; and called that city Enoch, after the name of his eldest son Enoch.”

Where did Josephus get this direct quote from God: “"I wonder at thee, that thou knowest not what is become of a man whom thou thyself hast destroyed." It sounds like something God might say, but was Josephus so confident in his source that even although he paraphrased some of what is contained in Genesis here he gave a quote that somehow Genesis omitted?

And where did Josephus get all this additional information about Cain that Genesis doesn’t mention at all? Here again, did he just think it up, freely embellish, or rely upon earlier works by other authors.

I would assume in all these cases that the writers were honest reporters who drew upon earlier works they believed were reliable. I believe these additional sources do supply some degree of corroboration to the Genesis account, but how much credibility we can assign to them is up to our own discretion.

Dick Fischer, author, lecturer

Historical Genesis from Adam to Abraham



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Received on Fri May 1 19:04:46 2009

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